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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2013, 2(3), 680-703; doi:10.3390/ijgi2030680
Article

Alpine Glaciology: An Historical Collaboration between Volunteers and Scientists and the Challenge Presented by an Integrated Approach

1,2,* , 1
, 2
, 3
, 1
 and 2
1 Institute for Remote Sensing of the Environment, National Research Council of Italy, Via Bassini 15, I-20133 Milano, Italy 2 Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Pavia, Via Ferrata 1, I-27100 Pavia, Italy 3 Institute for the Dynamics of Environmental Processes, National Research Council of Italy, Via Pasubio, I-24044 Dalmine (BG), Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 June 2013 / Revised: 15 July 2013 / Accepted: 23 July 2013 / Published: 5 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Collaborative Mapping)
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Abstract

European Alpine glaciology has a long tradition of studies and activities, in which researchers have often relied on the field work of some specialized volunteer operators. Despite the remarkable results of this cooperation, some problems in field data harmonization and in covering the whole range of monitored glaciers are still present. Moreover, dynamics of reduction, fragmentation and decline, which in recent decades characterize Alpine glaciers, make more urgent the need to improve spatial and temporal monitoring, still maintaining adequate quality standards. Scientific field monitoring activities on Alpine glaciers run parallel to a number of initiatives by individuals and amateur associations, keepers of alternative, experiential and para-scientific knowledge of the glacial environment. Problems of harmonization, coordination, recruitment and updating can be addressed with the help of a collaborative approach—citizen science-like—in which the scientific coordination guarantees information quality and web 2.0 tools operate as mediators between expert glaciologists and non-expert contributors. This paper gives an overview of glaciological information currently produced in the European Alpine region, representing it in an organized structure, functional to the discussion. An empowering solution is then proposed, both methodological and technological, for the integration of multisource data. Its characteristics, potentials and problems are discussed.
Keywords: glaciology; data quality; citizen science; volunteered geographic information; incidental information; data harmonization; data quality glaciology; data quality; citizen science; volunteered geographic information; incidental information; data harmonization; data quality
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Criscuolo, L.; Pepe, M.; Seppi, R.; Bordogna, G.; Carrara, P.; Zucca, F. Alpine Glaciology: An Historical Collaboration between Volunteers and Scientists and the Challenge Presented by an Integrated Approach. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2013, 2, 680-703.

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